The international community, led by the U.N. Security Council, is advocating for immediate and prolonged humanitarian breaks in the Gaza conflict, to facilitate the entry of aid. The United States, a key ally of Israel, has expressed a desire for Israel to shift from extensive airstrikes to more targeted operations against Hamas leadership.
Despite these calls, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and military officials have indicated their intention to continue, or even escalate, the current level of military engagement. This stance comes amid one of the most destructive conflicts of the century, causing significant regional instability.
Since the onset of Israeli airstrikes on Christmas Eve, there have been numerous casualties and injuries among Palestinians, particularly in refugee camps. Palestinian and global health authorities report these figures. In contrast, Israel has seen nineteen of its soldiers perish in recent clashes, marking one of its most challenging periods since initiating its campaign against Hamas on October 7.
Gaza’s medical facilities are struggling under the overwhelming demand for aid, according to humanitarian officials. Nonetheless, Netanyahu, during a recent visit to Gaza, declared that the conflict is far from over, with plans to expand military operations.
Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant emphasized that Israel has faced attacks from multiple fronts – Gaza, the West Bank, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and Iran – and has actively responded to these threats.
The U.N. Security Council’s resolution last week, which fell short of demanding a ceasefire due to the potential of a U.S. veto, called for a second humanitarian pause in Gaza. However, Israel’s recent actions suggest an intensification of its military campaign, with airstrikes targeting central Gaza and evacuations advised in certain areas.
This escalation of violence highlights a contradiction in U.S. policy: the Biden administration’s commitment to reducing civilian suffering versus its support for Israel’s campaign against Hamas. The U.S. provides Israel with military and political backing, essential for the continuation of its offensive.
According to Gaza authorities, this ongoing conflict results in hundreds of Palestinian casualties daily. Netanyahu, in a Wall Street Journal article, asserted that the conflict would end only with Israel’s victory, emphasizing the need to dismantle Hamas and demilitarize Gaza.
The U.S. has advocated for the Palestinian Authority’s involvement in Gaza post-conflict, a suggestion bluntly rejected by Netanyahu. Lt. Gen. Herzi Halevi, the Israeli general staff chief, underlined the necessity of a persistent and determined approach to dismantle Hamas.
The conflict began with a Hamas offensive on October 7, involving attacks on Israeli communities and hostage-taking. Amidst escalating tensions between the Biden administration and Netanyahu’s government, high-level discussions are ongoing in Washington to strategize a shift in the war’s focus and address the humanitarian crisis in Gaza.
The Gaza Health Ministry reports thousands of deaths since October 7, with significant casualties in recent strikes on central Gaza areas like the Bureij and Maghazi refugee camps and Deir al-Balah city.
Amidst these developments, claims have emerged from Palestinian officials regarding the treatment of bodies returned by Israel, though these allegations remain unverified. The ongoing conflict has also severely impacted Gaza’s telecommunications, with frequent outages and infrastructure damage, calling for international intervention.